Nonfarm payrolls were up 288,000 in June, according to today’s data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was above economists’ expectations. The construction sector added 6,000 jobs. The unemployment rate in June decreased to 6.1 percent, the lowest since September 2008. However, the labor participation rate is still only 62.8%.
The website MarketWatch.com stated that employment gains for May and April were also revised up by a combined 29,000, as reported by the Labor Department. In June, virtually every major industry added jobs, led by professional services, retail, restaurants, health care, finance and manufacturing. Average hourly wages, meanwhile, rose 6 cents, or 0.2 percent to $24.45. Wages are up 2 percent over the past 12 months. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours. The government said 224,000 new jobs were created in May, up from a preliminary 217,000, based on newly available data. April’s gain was revised up to 304,000 from 282,000, marking the biggest increase in jobs in two and a half years. So far in 2014 the economy has gained an average of 231,000 jobs a month, 19 percent faster than the 2013 pace of 194,000.